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February 2014 Precipitation Summary
State of Hawaii
MONTH: February 2014
PREPARED: March 6, 2014
Note: This summary uses the arithmetic mean, or average, for “normal” rainfall values.
State: [Text data table for rain gages]
A large and persistent area of low pressure in the central North Pacific pushed several weather systems over the state with rather wet conditions in a number of areas during the first three weeks of February. This stagnant pattern broke down to a more progressive pattern during the final week of the month which resulted in one weak cold front passage across the state on February 26, followed by a stronger cold front which swept across the island chain in early March.
Two heavy rain events, both of which occurred on Kauai, produced notable flooding impacts. The first event took place on February 16 as a rain band from a low pressure system west of the main Hawaiian Islands impacted Kauai. Moderate to heavy rainfall, in the range of 1 to 4 inches, moved onshore in the early morning hours and mainly affected the south- and east-facing slopes of the island. Flooding closed Weliweli Rd. and Ala Kinoki Rd. near Koloa, Kamalu Rd. near Wailua, and Keapana Rd. in Kapaa. No significant injuries were reported. Several days later, a surface trough supported by an upper atmospheric disturbance brought another round of heavy rainfall to Kauai on February 21 with most of the rainfall once again affecting the south- and east-facing slopes. This rain event was a bit stronger with a few totals in the range of 3 to 5 inches. The most intense rainfall was recorded by the gage at Anahola which logged 1.03 inches in the 15-minute period from 5:15 to 5:30 AM HST. Along the lower slopes of south Kauai, heavy rainfall and runoff closed Puolo Rd. in Hanapepe and pushed water levels in the Hanapepe River nearly up to the base of the Hanapepe Rd. Bridge.
Several additional weather systems brought enhanced precipitation to the state but did not produce significant flooding problems. On February 3 and 4, a cold front remnant supported by an upper level low pressure trough generated 1 to 2 inches of rainfall and minor flooding over portions of Molokai, Maui, and the Big Island. Over a week later, on February 13, a slow-moving cold front dropped 1 to 4 inches over the north-facing slopes of Kauai but there were no significant flooding issues.
Island of Kauai : [February 2014 map] [year-to-date map]
Most of the gages on Kauai logged above average rainfall totals for the month of February. The Kapahi gage had both the highest monthly total of 21.72 inches (287 percent of average) and the highest daily total of 5.09 inches on February 16. The gages at Kapahi, Lihue Variety Station (14.03 inches), and Anahola (15.69 inches) all posted their highest February totals in a data record going back to 1993.
Rainfall totals for 2014 through the end of February were in the near to above average range at most of the rain gages across Kauai. The sole exception was the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Mount Waialeale gage with a year-to-date total of 33.03 inches. This was just 67 percent of the long term average. The highest year-to-date total was from the USGS’ Kilohana gage which has recorded 37.84 inches (128 percent of average) and was the highest amount statewide thus far in 2014.
Island of Oahu: [February 2014 map] [year-to-date map]
Most of the gages on Oahu recorded near to above average rainfall totals for the month of February. Below average totals were mainly from the leeward slopes of the island. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Oahu Forest National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) gage had the highest monthly total of 18.76 inches (117 percent of average) and the highest daily total of 4.57 inches on February 14. Other noteworthy monthly totals included Poamoho’s 8.05 inches (229 percent of average) and Hawaii Kai Golf Course’s 4.00 inches (90 percent of average), which marked the highest February totals at these sites since 1994 and 2004, respectively.
A majority of the gages on Oahu had near to above average rainfall totals for 2014 through the end of February. The Oahu Forest NWR gage had the highest year-to-date total of 30.81 inches (93 percent of average), which was third highest in the state. Most of the below average totals were from the leeward sections of the island.
Maui County: [Maui February 2014 map] [year-to-date map] [Molokai/Lanai February 2014 map] [year-to-date map]
Maui County had most of its monthly totals fall into the near to above average range for February. The USGS gage on Puu Kukui had the highest monthly total of 8.65 inches but this was just 33 percent of average. Puu Kukui also recorded the highest daily total of 1.78 inches on February 2. Molokai Airport (4.91 inches) had its highest February total since 1995, and Kaunakakai (3.21 inches) and Kula Branch Station (4.52 inches) both had their highest February totals since 2004.
Most of the rainfall totals from Maui County for 2014 through the end of February were in the near to above average range. The Puu Kukui gage had the highest year-to-date total of 25.58 inches though this was just 44 percent of average.
Island of Hawaii: [February 2014 map] [year-to-date map]
Rainfall totals for the month of February were below 50 percent of average at many of the gages on the Big Island. Windward locations were especially dry due to the lack of trade wind conditions, which was further underscored by the unusual occurrence of the highest monthly total coming from Pahala! The Pahala and Kapapala Ranch gages both posted their highest February totals since 2008. Although windward areas were anomalously dry, several leeward sites within areas plagued by long-term drought indicated wetter than average conditions which helped ease drought-related problems.
Most of the windward gages on the Big Island indicated rainfall totals for 2014 through the end of February in the below average range while most leeward totals were in the near to above average range. Despite the February windward rainfall deficit, the highest year-to-date total on the Big Island (22.37 inches, 84 percent of average) came from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Island Dairy gage.
Data Sources: Data used in this report are largely from National Weather Service sources including climate network weather observation stations at Lihue, Honolulu, Kahului, and Hilo, the Hydronet state network of automated rain gages, and selected Cooperative Observer sites. Additional data come from automated rain gages operated by the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. National Park Service, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Averages come from the National Climatic Data Center (1981-2010 series) and the Rainfall Atlas of Hawaii (http://rainfall.geography.hawaii.edu/). Data presented here are not certified and should be used for informational purposes only.
Kevin R. Kodama
Senior Service Hydrologist
NOAA/NWS Weather Forecast Office Honolulu